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Thursday, 13 March 2014 09:36

Religious leaders arrested protesting Maules Creek coal mine, Australia

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Religious leaders, adding their voices to the protest of the Gomeroi people, have been arrested at Maules Creek in northwest New South Wales, Australia for blocking access to Whitehaven's Coal's mine site, reports 350.org.

Religious leaders – four Uniting Church Ministers, two Priests, one Catholic and one Buddhist, and a number of lay people – made the long trip to Maules Creek in northwest New South Wales to hold a prayer vigil at the gates to Whitehaven Coal’s mine construction site. They’ve added their voices to those of the traditional owners of the land — the Gomeroi people — who believe their sacred sites in the Leard Forest are being destroyed, to call for the mine to be stopped.

Following the vigil, some of the religious leaders joined locals and supporters to block the entrance to the mine site, turning away trucks and heavy equipment. Several of those religious leaders were then arrested and detained by Police. One of those people was Thea Ormerod, head of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change and grandmother of six. Thea has written an amazing op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald, in which she said:

“You may ask how such a group could endorse anything so radical, but this is a well-worn path for people of faith….The movement to wind down coal-mining in Australia may be counter-cultural but it is the truly conservative one. Its aim is to keep the Earth’s ecosystems more or less intact for those who suffer the impact of climate change in developing countries, for our own young people here and for future generations. Not a radical position at all.”

Read the full story at 350.org and find out how you can support this campaign.

Read ARRCC Chair Thea Ormerod's op-ed piece in the Sydney Morning Herald.